• Current climate policies are alienating developing countries who are the key to addressing the climate challenge, Majid Jafar tells senior leaders from the oil and gas industry.
  • The UAE as host of COP28 is uniquely prepared to bridge the North-South divide
  • Majid Jafar: “The carbon transition needs developing countries to have access to lower carbon fuels and have reliable and plentiful energy supply”

The world is at a critical crossroads in the effort to cut carbon emissions and slow climate change, but current global climate policies are hindering the energy transition, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, the region’s oldest and largest private oil and gas company, told ministers and industry leaders gathered for the 8th OPEC International Seminar. Policymakers from Western countries risk alienating developing countries who are the key to addressing the challenge, and this must change to enable the developing world to progress to lower carbon but without harming their economic development, Mr. Jafar told the audience at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

“The developing world is ultimately where the whole climate change battle is going to be won or lost,” Mr. Jafar said. “That is where the most rapid economic and population growth is occurring and where all the emissions growth will come from. These nations must have a low emission pathway to economic development, but the change must occur by actually reducing emissions rather than starving energy supply.”

Mr. Jafar made his comments on the Thursday at a panel session entitled, “The pace of energy transitions and climate change policies”, which included Bernard Looney, Group CEO pf BP; Muhammad Taufik, President and Group CEO of Petronas; and Simon Steill, Executive Secretary of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change.. The panelists discussed how policy can find a balance between satisfying the energy needs of the global economy and building a sustainable and climate-friendly energy system.

Mr. Jafar said the Western world’s current approach to reducing emissions often comes at the expense of social and economic development in developing nations, whose populations and energy needs are growing.

“There is a fundamental misunderstanding that to pursue the net-zero agenda we don’t need to invest in oil and gas anymore, when in fact they will still be fundamental to global energy needs throughout the transition, with natural gas for power enabling intermittent renewable , and oil to make almost everything required – from electric cars to wind turbines and solar panels,” he said.

In the runup to the COP28 summit which will be held in Dubai at the end of the year, Jafar said he expects the UAE to play a pivotal role in bridging that gap between developed and developing countries:

“It is clear to me how important it is to find a space to host conversations where all countries’ views will be welcomed and given an equal platform,” Jafar said. “I am confident COP28 will be the most inclusive and effective COP to date because the UAE is uniquely placed to bridge the gap between the Global North and South and facilitate considerable change.”

The 8th OPEC International Seminar welcomed nearly 1,000 of the highest-level oil and gas leaders, including ministers of OPEC member states, senior leaders from the oil and gas industry, policymakers, NGOs and invited guests. Speakers included HE Suhail Al Mazrouie, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Al Saud, Minister of Energy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Shaikh Nawaf S. Al Sabah, CEO of KPC and a wide range of energy and resource ministers from Africa, Europe and Latin America, as well as CEOs and leaders of international organizations.

The two-day event, held at the historic Hofburg Palace in Vienna under the banner, “Toward a Sustainable and Inclusive Energy Transition.” Among the themes focused on during the seminar included energy security, market stability, sustainability, investments and finance, low-carbon technologies, just energy transitions, energy poverty and diversification.

Crescent Petroleum is a proud sponsor of the OPEC seminar. The event is held once every three years, but had been postponed due to the COVID pandemic.